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General Fiasco Unfaithfully Yours Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

The best tracks here are made for glorious summer sing-alongs.

Mike Haydock 2012

Northern Irish four-piece General Fiasco are one of those guitar bands we’re good at nurturing in the UK. You know the ones: perky pop-rock, a bit punky, massive chorus hooks, sensible fringes. Tellison, Straight Lines, Kids in Glass Houses, The View, You Me at Six; for some reason – perhaps their guitars are too loud – these bands do well enough to make a few albums but never quite break through into the global mainstream.

General Fiasco are certainly giving it their best shot. Their debut album, Buildings, featured a couple of massive singles, and they’ve continued where they left off with Unfaithfully Yours. Gold Chains, Waves and The Age You Start Losing Friends are all frighteningly catchy. There’s a pounding intensity to the latter that elevates this album to new heights, Owen Strathern howling the verses like Jesse Lacey from Brand New.

When they nail it – see also Bad Habits and Temper Temper – General Fiasco are a joy to listen to, everything well oiled and working smoothly. Their enthusiasm and melodies are infectious. But too much of General Fiasco’s output is only competent at best: the pop-punk formula is so trite now, so tried-and-tested, that there is zero room for complacency. The choruses have to roar, the riffs have to sparkle, and the drums have to be given some welly.

On Closer and Brother Is, they don’t and they aren’t. Consequently, these songs fall flat as pancakes. Closer is the second song here, and does real damage to the album as a whole, reawakening suspicions that General Fiasco write great singles but flawed albums. They do try and mix it up: Hollows is a shot at a soaring anthem and This Is Living is a downbeat ballad. Both are fine, but neither of them are pretty enough to get you swooning, and as a result they don’t make sense when surrounded by so much giddiness.

These missteps mean that Unfaithfully Yours is another solid rather than brilliant General Fiasco album: one for glorious summer sing-alongs, with a finger poised over the skip button.

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